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Asylum Toolkit

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Asylum Toolkit

This toolkit will assist you in filing a pro-se asylum application. FORMS ARE INCLUDED.

For more information regarding asylum requirements, please read the “Asylum Publication”.

Please note that this assumes you are NOT in removal proceedings. If you are in removal proceedings, please consult with an immigration attorney because additional steps may apply.

This toolkit includes:

  • Instructions & Forms you can use to file for asylum
    • Use the first set of instructions if you are petitioning for yourself and if you are also including your spouse and/or children currently residing in the United States.
    • Use the second set of instructions if your asylum application has been approved and you would now like to petition for your spouse and/or children currently residing outside the United States.
    • Use the third set of instructions if at least 150 days have passed since USCIS received your asylum application and you would like to apply for work authorization.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about filing for asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT)
  • Asylum Sample Cover Letter

Need Help?

WARNING! The information and forms in this toolkit are not legal advice and are not a substitute for the help of a lawyer. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

Instructions & Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible to file for asylum?

The basic requirements to file for asylum include:

  1. You must be in the United States and you must have arrived less than one year ago.
  2. You have been persecuted in your native country or have a well-founded fear of future persecution.
  3. The persecution was based on one of the five protected grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  4. The persecution was done by the government or by a person or group that the government is unable or unwilling to control.
  5. You are not barred from seeking asylum.
What are some of the bars to asylum?

You may be barred from filing for asylum if you previously applied for asylum and your application was denied, more than one year has passed since your last arrival in the United States, you participated in or were convicted of certain criminal activities, you were involved in the persecution of others, or for security-related grounds. 

Which application do I need to file for asylum?

USCIS Form 1-589 is the application for asylum, Withholding of Removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

Where do I file my application for asylum?

Depending on where you reside, you will file our application with one of the USCIS service centers. You can lookup your corresponding service center at https://www.uscis.gov/i-589, and click on “Where to File”. 

How much will it cost for me to apply for asylum?

The current fee for an asylum application is $0.00. If biometrics are required, they will also be included at no cost to the applicant.

How long before I can start working after I file for asylum?

You can apply for a work permit 150 day after your asylum application is accepted by USCIS. It may take an additional 30 days for your work permit to be approved.

Can I travel after I’ve applied for asylum?

Generally, no. You may only travel outside the United States if you have received permission, also called Advance Parole, from USICS. If you do not have Advance Parole to travel, USCIS will assume that you have abandoned your asylum application

Do I need a lawyer to help me with my asylum application?

You do not have to have a lawyer to apply for asylum. However, asylum cases can be complicated and your ability to stay in the U.S. is at risk.

It’s a good idea to talk with an immigration lawyer about your particular situation. Immigration lawyers specialize in immmigration issues, including asylum and work authorization. An immigration attorney can explain your rights and options.